Jefferies Top Growth Stock Picks May Stay Red Hot the Rest of 2019

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Increasingly, the Wall Street firms that we cover are starting to agree that while the future’s still bright for the U.S. economy, it may be one of stock market gains much lower than the norm has been over the past 10 years. When that is the case, then investing strategies often shift from indexing and passive strategies to a more disciplined stock picking routine. That’s when investors need solid growth ideas.

Jefferies highlights its top growth stocks to buy each week, and this week is no exception. While these plays are better suited for accounts with a higher risk tolerance, they all make good sense now and have outstanding upside potential. These four look extremely good now and could bring investors some outsized first-quarter gains.

AMD

After years of frustrating performance, this top company appeared to have turned the corner, but it was absolutely destroyed in October and November. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is one of the largest suppliers of PC microprocessors and graphics processors worldwide to computing original equipment manufacturers. The company’s main product lines include desktop, notebook and graphics processors, and embedded/semi-custom chips.

Last year the company released its first major offering in five years, the Ryzen chipset, which many feel is uniquely positioned to compete with the big players like Intel and Nvidia in the $50 billion total addressable market for personal computers, gaming, artificial intelligence and servers.

AMD posted mixed fourth-quarter results, but the analyst stayed very positive:

The Company reported fourth quarter 2018 earnings last week. Revenues came in 1.7% below consensus and first quarter 2019 earnings per share and revenue guide came in below consensus, though the 2019 outlook for HSD revenue growth is 3% above consensus the gross margin outlook for >41% looks like a layup with all the new products ramping. We expect AMD to meaningfully ramp new, high margin MPU products for servers and estimate the company will have a 6-9 month lead on Intel servers, allowing the company to successfully gain share. We lower our first quarter Eearnings per share to reflect the guide, but raise our second through fourth quarter and fiscal 2019 EPS and our forecasts for the full year are ahead of consensus.

The Jefferies price target for the shares is $30, and the Wall Street consensus target is much lower at $23.66. The shares closed on Friday at $24.51.

Facebook

The huge social media leader’s stock has been incredibly volatile recently, but it posted outstanding results for the quarter. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is the largest social network with over 2.0 billion monthly active users and over 1.4 billion daily active users. The company generates revenue from advertising and from payments, with over 95% of revenue from advertising. It generates close to half of revenues in the United States and Canada and is expanding rapidly in international markets.

The company’s solutions also include Instagram, a mobile application that enables people to take photos or videos, customize them with filter effects, and share them with friends and followers in a photo feed or send them directly to friends; Messenger, a messaging application for mobile and web on various platforms and devices, which enable people to reach others instantly, as well as enable businesses to engage with customers; and WhatsApp Messenger, a mobile messaging application.

Jefferies loved the results and noted this:

Company reported last week and delivered a larger than anticipated fourth quarter beat. Ad impressions were up 34% year-over-year, though average price per ad fell 2%. We now believe ~80% of estimate cuts are complete and though revenue is expected to decelerate further in 2019, we think it will moderate throughout the year and believe it will continue to be a 20%+ grower. We see upside to Instagram growth (potential for 60%+ growth) as Stories improve monetization. We look for 23% revenue growth in 2019, a deceleration from 37% but we don’t expect much further moderation, with 2020 growth expected to be 22%, faster than 20% operating expense growth.

Jefferies has a $200 price target and the consensus target is $184.67. The shares closed at $165.71 on Friday.